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Smarter Family: Easy Ways To Save More and Spend Less

Posted by on Aug. 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 38 Replies

These days, it seems like everyone needs to be saving more and spending less. As our daughter grows up and starts school, her needs and activities are changing, and starting to cost more, (and more, and more), and of course, the cost of college is already always looming, though it's still far away for us. For all these reasons, I've been looking for some easy ways to start saving more and spending less. Here's what I've found:

1) Drive less: Try biking, car pooling, walking, scooting or using public transportation if you are trying to save. The cost of gas is a significant drain on most household budgets these days, and can be cut down with some simple planning ahead. Plus, the extra activity and exercise is always good for you and your family. And fun!

2) Shop less: Delete all those coupon and store emails you have signed up for; they are only constant reminders that stores want you to go spend more of your money and put it in their pockets. Shop only when you really need to, and consider buying stuff second-hand, sometimes. We always had used bikes, books and clothes growing up, and they worked just fine. Consider also selling stuff your kids have outgrown on or at consignment stores, or swapping for things you need for their next stages.

3) Plan your meals and grocery shopping ahead: Make a list of your meal plan for the week, or at least half the week, and stick to those ingredients plus your pantry essentials and healthy fresh snack food. Going to the grocery store without a plan always leads me to spend a lot more and buy much more than I need or can even cook or eat with my family. Instead, try looking in your fridge before you set out, plan to use up what you do have already, and you'll be able to save a whole bunch of time and money. Plus, if you can plan for the week or at least several days and meals, you'll save gas and energy because you won't have to drive to the store as often.

4) Make a budget: When I recently sat down to try to figure out how to spend less, I wasted all this time and energy going back through many months of statements, trying to figure out what I was spending too much on. I realize that I was doing it all backwards. The right way to budget is to simply write down how much money you have / make each month, then subtract your non-optional expenses from that, such as health insurance, childcare costs, loan payments, electric and other utility bills. Then see how much you have left to work with, and set yourself a realistic budget for food, activities and other miscellaneous. You can set a savings goal too, which will help motivate you to find creative ways to shop within your new budget.

Do you have any money saving tips to share?

© Andresr

by on Aug. 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Silver Member on Aug. 26, 2013 at 12:11 AM
1 mom liked this

I have an app on my phone that helps me to keep a budget.  I also weigh things as wants versus needs.

by Nychole on Aug. 26, 2013 at 8:12 AM
1 mom liked this

put back some everymonth in an account that you can not get a hold of unless really needed. 

by Gold Member on Aug. 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM
1 mom liked this

I love to shop second hand stores. I find awesome deals and awesome quality items but you have to be patient and look often.

by Jo on Aug. 26, 2013 at 9:01 AM
Whats the name of it?

Quoting MixedCooke:

I have an app on my phone that helps me to keep a budget.  I also weigh things as wants versus needs.

by Ruby Member on Aug. 26, 2013 at 10:15 AM
2 moms liked this

 We make lists of what we need and plan on what stores to go for each thing. We shop around to buy what costs less at each store.

by Brian's Lil Vixen on Aug. 26, 2013 at 12:49 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks for sharing the tips... 

by Platinum Member on Aug. 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM

go through coupons before you go to the store, and try to buy only the coupon related items if you can. i saved $11 in coupons last night and spent $18 on the basics for the week (bread, milk, etc). Got Schick razor blades for 49 cents after $3 off angel food cake from the bakery for $1.89 after using a $2 off store coupon

by Lisa on Aug. 26, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I use coupons for only items I need and items that are free.  I carry the store sales ad with me so I know which items and size are on sale and review my receipt before I leave the store.  There have been times where the sale price wasn't given.  I try to shop the first day of the sale so I don't have to deal with getting rainchecks.  

by Pam on Aug. 26, 2013 at 4:17 PM

We just try to make a grocery list and buy what is on that list.

by Ruby Member on Aug. 26, 2013 at 4:46 PM
1 mom liked this

 i always hit the clearance racks/shelves in the stores first.  even at the grocery stores you can get great deals.  i got boxes of cereal a few weeks ago for $.75 each (normally over $3) all because the boxes had been damaged but the cereal inside was perfectly fine. 

where i used to live we had a store that sold brand new merchandise at a great discount because it couldn't be sold in regular stores; tags were on backwards, not centered, mis-sized, etc.  whenever i was in need of something i'd go there first before a regular store.  wish they had stores like that around me now.

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